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National I Care About You Day

jstevenson | Journeys through Grief

At our very core, we human beings are born to be in a relationship with each other. This attribute is a big part of what it means to be human. Consequently, it is those relationships that carry the seeds of our experience of grief.

It is painful when the people we care about are no longer physically around us. That pain is an acknowledgment of both the physical space they occupied as well as the emotional and mental space. We are acutely aware of the emptiness they left behind. Little by little, as we grieve, other things occupy that emptiness. That is not to say that we forget the person nor that they are replaced. It is to say that the hurt should abate, and we turn more toward the living of everyday life and away from the intensity and pain of our raw grief.

A very meaningful way of making that turn back toward living and away from the raw grief is to take note of those special acts of kindness that someone has touched us with. As noted in postings on Journeys through Grief it might have been when someone came and cooked a meal for us. It might have been when someone just sat with us and allowed us to grieve, feeling the loss without trying to fix it or fix us. Someone once brought me a cheeseburger because I didn’t have time to consider eating that day. It is a random, unexpected kindness that came our way at that moment. It meant the world to us, giving us a respite in the arduous trek of grief.

As good as it makes us as grievers feel, it also provides a pleasing and important experience for the person doing the act. When we humans show that we care, it releases endorphins in our brains. Endorphins are chemicals that provide a good feeling, a feeling of caring and satisfaction. And when endorphins are released, it acts as a bit of glue; it binds us closer to the other person.

Next Monday, October 25th is National I Care About You Day. What a fantastic day to release endorphins on the world. As bereaved people, take stock of those people who have provided you with kindness. Recognize with gratitude (another act that releases endorphins) that you were on the receiving end of kindness that made things a bit easier for the moment. As a person who wants to bring some comfort to someone who is grieving, take some time and reach out to them. Text, call or email them to tell them you are thinking of them in their loss. Better yet, tell them something you remember about their person who died, sparking a memory for both of you. Send over a meal for them or offer to handle a task or a household chore for them. Being bereaved it is hard to remember to get the car washed or filled up with gas.

There are a variety of things that will express a sense of care and compassion to another.
I had a Dove chocolate the other day and on the inside of the wrapper was printed,
“Throw kindness around like confetti!”

What a great idea. And a great way to ease the pain of grief.